Robert Yekovich Alumni Profile
by Chris Wiger, Bio from the Shepherd School of Music website.
Composer, educator and university administrator Dr. Robert Yekovich, BM 1978. MA 1980, has been named recipient of the 2022 Lamont School of Music Distinguished Alumni Award. He joins two other graduates who have received the school’s highest alumni honor: international opera star Hao Jiang Tian and Star Wars music editor Robert Wolff.
Dr. Yekovich became the fifth dean of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in 2003. He stepped down as dean on June 30, 2021 and returned to the faculty as Elma Schneider Professor of Music at the university.
After receiving a bachelor’s and master’s in music from the Lamont School of Music, Yekovich earned a doctorate at Columbia University. He has held teaching positions at Columbia, Connecticut College, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the University of Denver.
In 1991, he became dean of music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) at the University of North Carolina. During his time there, he established the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute with a $10 million commitment from the A.J. Fletcher Foundation and subsequently created one of the most prestigious graduate opera programs in the country. His conceptual vision provided the plan for an eventual realization of the school’s $15 million music building and concert hall.
Dean Yekovich’s accomplishments since joining the Shepherd School include appointing a large cadre of nationally and internationally renowned studio faculty and artist teachers; a dramatic increase in the school’s endowed and annual gift funds, particularly for merit scholarships; enhancing the quality of the orchestra, opera and chamber music programs; two East Coast tours by the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra culminating in performances at Carnegie Hall; the recently established partnership with the New York Philharmonic’s Global Academy; launching an exchange program with the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig; and the completion of Brockman Hall for Opera, a new $100 million facility that houses a 600-seat state-of-the-art theater. Completed in July 2020, Brockman Hall for Opera combines with Alice Pratt Brown Hall and a connecting plaza to form the new Brockman Music and Performing Arts Center, home of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.
Dean Yekovich is a composer whose works have been performed and broadcast throughout North and South America. His honors include a commission from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University. He serves on many boards and ongoing committees including the New York chapter of the League of Composers/International Society for Contemporary Music, the Houston Symphony, Chamber Music Houston, the Eastern Shore Chamber Music Festival, the Perry R. Bass Fellowship Selection Committee, the Louis Moreau Gottschalk Institute, the Wellesley Composers Conference, Speculum Musicae, the Advisory Board of the University of Denver Lamont School of Music (and the Lamont Society Honorary Board), The Shepherd Society, Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine, the National Center for Human Performance, and the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.
Dr. Yekovich is expected to visit the University of Denver campus this spring to accept the award and meet with students and faculty.